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Old 03-15-2015, 11:31 AM   #1
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Too Beautiful To Eat

After watching a few dozen Masterchef's, Australia/New Zealand/Britain something vaguely disturbing has crept into my mind.
I watch as dozens of home cooks attempt to give the judges what the contestants think the judges are looking for. Why not?
What I see are dishes, some very elegantly plated with the main ingredients piled one on another. Celeriac puree then the steak then the baby carrots. Everything teetering about to fall over. Same with the incredible deserts. Almost too beautiful to eat.
Everyone knows what I mean.
OK. That’s what’s ‘trending heavily’ now. Or at least last month.
This is not what’s bothering me. It’s the “almost too beautiful to eat”.
What happens when we see a beautiful culinary masterpiece carefully, lovingly set in front of us? Something we are willing to pay our hard earned money to then own.To do to it as we wish.
We look at the little teetering mountain of edible delight. We think: ‘This little beauty is setting me back fifty bucks but JUST LOOK AT IT! It’s beautiful!
What happens inside our brain when we then take hold of two sterling silver cold hard tools specifically designed to destroy such beauty?
We stare at the object of our desire then with all the conscience of a Jeffery Dalmer .We attack fast! Intent to destroy and obliterate and consume all on the plate.
The beautiful offering. A veritable ‘virgin-on-a-plate’ becomes an old broken down used and abused ‘smear on a plate’.
Nobody wants to even glance down for fear of the enviable deep feelings of guilt and disgust coming up like bile.
“Waiter! We are finished with this plate. Please take it away.”
I believe this dichotomy of emotions really does have an affect on diners. We leave the one star restaurant vaguely ashamed. Ashamed of what we have done. What we have spent. Knowing, like an addict, we will be back to repeat the gruesome deed again when we can.
I offer a salve to these dark hearts.
Encourage chefs to plate different items on the plate with some small distance between each other. We can then delicately choose a morsel of mashed spuds with perhaps a drip a gravy added. A modest mouthful. Then a taste of the green beans located well away from the Salisbury steak.
No more destruction of the beautiful tower with the first stab of the fork. No more shame as we watch the ‘Omelette Norvegienne’ look like a large goose dropping after the first forkful.
What damage is this doing to the psyche? Does this explain why so many ‘grazers’ must always be seeking a new darkly lit banquette to do their gruesome work? Like the shame of the man walking down the street with his wife and having a women approach him and asking: “How come you never talk to me when you see me in town?”

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Old 03-15-2015, 11:35 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by puffin3 View Post
...What happens when we see a beautiful culinary masterpiece carefully, lovingly set in front of us? Something we are willing to pay our hard earned money to then own.To do to it as we wish.
We look at the little teetering mountain of edible delight. We think: ‘This little beauty is setting me back fifty bucks but JUST LOOK AT IT! It’s beautiful!...

My first thought is, "Someone in the kitchen has had their hands all over my food."
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Old 03-15-2015, 11:40 AM   #3
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Not to beautiful to eat. just too ridiculous!

I always ask why must they pile everything up?

Those towering burgers with multiple patties, slaw, fried onions, fried eggs (!) etc., make me want to buy one To Go so I can take it home and make several meals out of it.
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Old 03-15-2015, 11:45 AM   #4
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When I see everything stacked on the plate I think of the dogs dinner!

I think it is a gross affectation, ok so I'm not a gourmet!
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Old 03-15-2015, 01:25 PM   #5
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When I see everything stacked on the plate I think of the dogs dinner!

I think it is a gross affectation, ok so I'm not a gourmet!
I think the days of the 'foodtowers' are coming to an end.
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Old 03-15-2015, 01:40 PM   #6
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I think the days of the 'foodtowers' are coming to an end.


Along with the gigantic 14 inch plates used to serve a microscopic piece of cake that has been splattered with various sauces until it looks like a Jackson Pollock!

IMO good food doesn't need gimmicks or distractions.
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Old 03-15-2015, 02:08 PM   #7
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This is one reason why I so rarely visit so-called "good" restaurants. No matter how good the food, I can find properly prepared food, more reasonably priced, but intended to be eaten not admired.

For me properly prepared food is appetizing on it's own - no "presentation" required.
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Old 03-15-2015, 02:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by puffin3 View Post
After watching a few dozen Masterchef's, Australia/New Zealand/Britain something vaguely disturbing has crept into my mind.
I watch as dozens of home cooks attempt to give the judges what the contestants think the judges are looking for. Why not?
What I see are dishes, some very elegantly plated with the main ingredients piled one on another. Celeriac puree then the steak then the baby carrots. Everything teetering about to fall over. Same with the incredible deserts. Almost too beautiful to eat.
Everyone knows what I mean.
OK. That’s what’s ‘trending heavily’ now. Or at least last month.
This is not what’s bothering me. It’s the “almost too beautiful to eat”.
What happens when we see a beautiful culinary masterpiece carefully, lovingly set in front of us? Something we are willing to pay our hard earned money to then own.To do to it as we wish.
We look at the little teetering mountain of edible delight. We think: ‘This little beauty is setting me back fifty bucks but JUST LOOK AT IT! It’s beautiful!
What happens inside our brain when we then take hold of two sterling silver cold hard tools specifically designed to destroy such beauty?
We stare at the object of our desire then with all the conscience of a Jeffery Dalmer .We attack fast! Intent to destroy and obliterate and consume all on the plate.
The beautiful offering. A veritable ‘virgin-on-a-plate’ becomes an old broken down used and abused ‘smear on a plate’.
Nobody wants to even glance down for fear of the enviable deep feelings of guilt and disgust coming up like bile.
“Waiter! We are finished with this plate. Please take it away.”
I believe this dichotomy of emotions really does have an affect on diners. We leave the one star restaurant vaguely ashamed. Ashamed of what we have done. What we have spent. Knowing, like an addict, we will be back to repeat the gruesome deed again when we can.
I offer a salve to these dark hearts.
Encourage chefs to plate different items on the plate with some small distance between each other. We can then delicately choose a morsel of mashed spuds with perhaps a drip a gravy added. A modest mouthful. Then a taste of the green beans located well away from the Salisbury steak.
No more destruction of the beautiful tower with the first stab of the fork. No more shame as we watch the ‘Omelette Norvegienne’ look like a large goose dropping after the first forkful.
What damage is this doing to the psyche? Does this explain why so many ‘grazers’ must always be seeking a new darkly lit banquette to do their gruesome work? Like the shame of the man walking down the street with his wife and having a women approach him and asking: “How come you never talk to me when you see me in town?”
Oh, I DID enjoy this post!

The "tower" idea has been fashionable for many years and I agree with you that it's over done and passé. I'm all for the plate of food looking attractive but by the time the tower has been assembled the components are cold and the plate has to go into the m/wave to re-heat it, so that often it's over-cooked. Perhaps it's time for food fashion to go back to your idea of placing items on the plate so the diner has the choice of what s/he puts on his/her fork and with what.
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Old 03-15-2015, 02:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aunt Bea View Post


Along with the gigantic 14 inch plates used to serve a microscopic piece of cake that has been splattered with various sauces until it looks like a Jackson Pollock!

IMO good food doesn't need gimmicks or distractions.
It really annoys me when a dish, which the menu describes as being served with this or that sauce, arrives and the sauce is just a few dots decorating the plate.
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Old 03-15-2015, 04:05 PM   #10
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Well, I'm completely and totally in the opposite camp. I ENJOY IT when we eat somewhere and the chef has served us something totally creative. It's called "Food As Art" and the whole idea behind it is that food is capable of being more than something you simply shovel into your face; it can also be a thing of beauty and a feast for the eyes and senses.

My wife and I go to these types of restaurants - not all the time - but maybe once every few months or so. It's enjoyable to go with a group of friennds and marvel at what's going to come out of the kitchen next. It's fun to see what they've done with each ingredient and how the flavors play off of each other.

If all I want is a "plate of food," I can have that anytime without leaving the house. To see what some of these chef artists create is enjoyable to me. If it isn't to your liking, so be it. I'm okay with that. But why criticize and tear it apart for others?

Below are a couple of the dishes we were served at a place Friday night when we went out.

And by the way, I have NO trouble eating them when the time comes.



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